Zettelkasten

Zettelkasten (or ZK for short) is, well, you can read about it yourself here: zettelkasten.de. Basically, it is a method to manage knowledges based on small notes that linked one and another. I first know this method from Protesilaos' blog post and hear it mentioned on a Sabrang's speech.

Starting ZK looks like a daunting task. I read the introduction several times and still I feel like it is too hard for me. But after my recent success on using Emacs for a real job task, I dare myself to read the introduction once again and plan to start making my ZK today (it's 2024-04-07).

I don't want to use any special tools for ZK, I will use plain .txt files, write the notes using any text editor available for me at any given times, and use pencil and paper (or this very wiki) for raw notes taking. Or else, I will purely use physical notebook exclusively, and use bullet-journal-like methods for indexing. (I love bullet journal, but the productivity vibe of the method mixed with the hyped aesthetic of the users is not suited for me.). On a second thought, I read that physical notebook will soon become messy when the ZK grows, I think I will stick to digital.

I believe I should starting it soon before the information I gathered from the introduction gone from my little brain again.

To recall what I already learn, I will write here again how to do ZK:

  • the building blocks of ZK are notes
  • the main content of a single note is a single thought or a single unit of knowledge, not information
  • any single note should has a unique ID
  • the anatomy of notes is:
    • header: id, title, tags
    • body: the main content, a thought
    • footer: reference if it's not your original thought
  • link the notes to any previous notes to connect them
  • make structures, use some kind of index (a metanotes, notes about notes), but you should not put all the notes to the index, only the necessary introduction to the topics. The hyperlink will help you to explore the topics.

Today (20240705), I learn two methods for doing ZK: denote and antinet.

Denote is an extention for Emacs, written by Protesilaos. Yes, I have tried Denote before, and in fact that was my first introduction to the world of ZK. At that time, I didn't understand the point of using Denote since I hadn't learn about ZK yet. Now, I can understand it easily.

The latter, Antinet, is an analogue method tried to closely resemble the original ZK used by Luhmann. This method is developed by Scott P. Scheper. He write a book called "Antinet Zettelkasten". He is very critical about digital methods of ZK, and claimed his analogue method is superior than the digitals. I am currently reading his book. I think I need a little free time to finish it, but Scheper said in the early pages that the readers don't have to finish the book to start doing Antinet ZK.

As of today (20240706), I decide to use the antinet method.